Updated: Feb 5
As soon as we booked our trip to Carnival in Venice we started to daydream about who we would be for a week. We wanted to keep our costs down, but we wanted to change our identities completely. One of the most famous carnival costumes is of the plague doctor - the somewhat sinister looking character with the long beaked nose and spectacles. The character is based on history. In the Middle Ages, Venice was besieged by plague and thousands died. The real "doctors" wore massive beaked masks both to scare away the evils of the disease and to cover their faces as completely as possible from contamination. A quick look at the famous costume rental places in Venice, made us decide that we couldn't spring more than a $1,000 to buy costumes. Rentals of authentic costumes are prohibitively high also. We decided to splurge a little by reserving custom-fitted capes ahead of time online for under a hundred dollars. See www.veniceatelier.com Then we went mask shopping when we arrived in Venice. There are scores of stores in town with masks ranging from totally tacky to really exquisite.
One of our daytime activities was a guided walk by "Casanova" to some of his favorite haunts. The trip booked through
venice-carnival-italy.com included lots of carnival history and fascinating details about the one-and-only Casanova. The 41 Euros we paid made for a morning that was a lot of fun, and we met many interesting "characters" along the way. Costumes were required for the tour, so we were happy to be debuting the ones that we had put together with the rented capes and brand-new masks. Mark decided to imitate the plague doctor, but at a lower cost, and was quite happy when passersby kept stopping to snap his picture. Here we are just before starting the Casanova tour with "Casanova" himself at far left.
The tour included a stop for coffee and authentic Venetian pastries. While sipping cappuccinos we were able to socialize with our fellow tourists. The English gentlemen below were wearing fantastic outfits that they told us they purchased very cheaply on eBay, a great place to look for your costumes.
We met the couple below on our night-time pub crawl. They were from Norway and had bought their costumes online inexpensively from Amazon. So, as you can see, looking like a millionaire is easier than you might think when you travel off the beaten path to Carnival in Venice.